Best Coast's debut album Crazy For You was released yesterday on the Mexican Summer label. Rather than drown ourselves in positive or negative hyperbole, let's try and take a balanced approach, shall we?
It's easy to hear why people are excited about this band. Singer/songwriter Bethany Cosentino's melodies are infectious and instantly memorable. They evoke the affable West (if not best) Coast tunefulness of everyone from Phil Spector to the Bangles. The band's sunny hooks are tempered with a C-86/K Records-style naiveté, both in lyrics and production. Songs like "Goodbye," "When The Sun Don't Shine" and "Each & Everyday" work as both expertly crafted pop and bedroom-recorded intimacy. It's an effective, borderline irresistible mix.
On the other hand, there's also sound reasons for why one might be less than impressed with Best Coast. While individual songs are undeniably affecting, taken together they begin to feel more affected. I'm not necessarily doubting Ms. Cosentino's sincerity but "girl pines for boy" is Best Coast's only subject matter, and their take on it isn't particularly nuanced or revelatory. After a while, the songs on Crazy For You play less like genuine longing and more like what one is supposed to sing about for pop songs such as these. Between this and general lack of sonic variety, the album summons redundancy at a scant 31 minutes.
Ultimately, Crazy For You is a record that offeres easy pleasures. It's just that those pleasures aren't particularly deep. However, Best Coast make pop music, in the classicist sense. And whoever said that pop music has to strive for depth or significance? Probably the same type of clod who'd tell you that U2 is better than ABBA.